Memorial Day 2020 1st in recent memory with no public ceremony at Wood National Cemetery

MILWAUKEE -- Leaders of Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee said Memorial Day 2020 would mark the first time in recent memory there's no public ceremony due to COVID-19 concerns.

"So, each year, it's a big event," said Donald Owens with Wood National Cemetery. "We have a flag placement that occurs a couple days before the actual Memorial Day event, which is always on Memorial Day."

Memorial Day is a time to honor veterans who are no longer with us.

"We do have a Memorial Day planning committee that starts to plan the Memorial Day ceremony in January," said Owens. "We always wanted to have a Memorial Day ceremony, but we understood that given the pandemic, it was going to limit what we could and couldn't do."

The pandemic brought changes -- including no large crowds at the cemetery.

"In the interest of public safety, we will not be holding a public ceremony this year," said Owens. "Cemetery staff will conduct a wreath laying ceremony to officially commemorate Memorial Day. We just want everyone who visits the cemetery to adhere to the CDC guidelines. We want everyone to be able to have the opportunity to pay respects to their loved ones, and we will not interfere with that special time."

While there will be no large ceremony, officials said if you would like to place a flag, lay a wreath or hold your own personal ceremony, they won't stop you.

"The health and safety of visitors, veterans, volunteers and team members must be our primary consideration," said Owens.

Cemetery staff asked that if you would like to place a flag or lay a wreath, that you please come back on Tuesday or Wednesday to pick them up so grounds crews can continue mowing.

CLICK HERE for information on Memorial Day commemorations at NCA Cemeteries.